A couple of weeks ago, Chikomeni Manda, a small scale miner, shared his experiences of mining in Mzimba, in northern Malawi. He is a young small scale gemstone miner and a member of Mzimba Gemstone Mining Cooperative. He is engaged in gem marketing and capacity building of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) in areas such as gemstone prospecting and mining, safety and good mining practices, gemstone grading and marketing. This week, Chikomeni invites you to visit a mine.
Chikomeni can be contacted on: chikomanda [at] gmail [dot] com
Visit an Artisanal or Small Scale Mine in Malawi
By Chikomeni Manda
Every day and all year long many tons of different kinds of gemstones are mined. Thousands of people travel to different places world over in search of these precious minerals. Stones are cut and polished, and well-crafted jewelries are produced all over the world. Many people throng to jewelry shops to buy engagement rings and pendants for their loved ones, because gemstones are so special and true love is expressed through them.
When you put on these jewelries, have you ever imagined where these precious gemstones come from? Where and how they are dug? Or who digs them. I wish people had the chance to go and see what I see. The whole journey of a gem. From isolated and unbearable places, people toiling and digging in the dirty pits and trenches. Finally a rock comes out of the ground thousands of miles away, across the ocean to the cutters’ wheel, to the brilliant centerpiece of a piece of fine colored stone jewelry.
It take courage, hard work and endurance to produce these gems in very difficult circumstances. Don’t just look at a beautiful piece of jewelry you putting on, but also think of where it comes from. It takes you to visit a mine to understand and a have a gem mining experience. I am telling you, it is so amazing to embark on this adventure because it makes you visualize the whole value chain of the stone from the mine to a beautiful piece of jewelry in a shop and up to the wearer of it.
If you are interested to visit a mine and you happen to be in Malawi you have a chance of visiting one. There are several interesting mining areas in the country where stones like ruby, sapphire, aquamarine, tourmaline and many other gemstones are mined.
We invite you to experience the rich mineral heritage of Malawi in a mine tour. The tour offers you a chance to have a gemstone mining, cutting and polishing experience. Some of the mines you may visit are Zumwanda, Thoza, Nkhanga and Kacheule mines which are situated inside Perekezi forest reserve in Mzimba. The participants have a chance to mine and interact with the miners. They also have a chance to appreciate the beauty of nature since most of the mining sites are situated inside forest reserves. On a good day you may have a chance to see wild animals and many birds.
The tour starts at the mine and concludes at Mzimba Gemstone Mining Cooperative’s showroom where you can see different gemstone samples and specimens, loose gems and have a gemstone cutting experience. Your visit is completed with a complimentary souvenir.